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Bradley Manning Says He Wants to Begin Living as a Woman; "San Diego Mayor Resignation In The Works; Hannah Anderson Speaks For The First Time; Louisiana Sinkhole Expands; Foreign Governments Are Spying On You

Aired August 22, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the day after he was sentenced to 35 years in jail for his part in the biggest leak of classified information in American history, Bradley Manning makes a dramatic announcement. We answer the question who is Chelsea.

Plus yesterday we showed you video of what appeared to be hundreds if not thousands of victims of a chemical attack in Syria. Has Assad officially crossed the president's red line or blurred line?

And disturbing new details with Oklahoma thrill killing investigation, what may be behind the shooting. We have an exclusive interview tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, I am Chelsea Manning, that's the bombshell announcement from Bradley Manning today, a day after the army private was sentenced to 35 years in prison for being the person who perpetrated the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history. Manning says he wants to live as a woman and begin hormone therapy immediately. So will it lead to a pardon and will the army let him get a sex change? Chris Lawrence is OUTFRONT.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The battle lines are drawn. The army says it does not provide hormone therapy and on NBC's "Today" show, Bradley Manning's attorney demanded the prison give it to him.

DAVID COOMBS, MANNING'S ATTORNEY: If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I'll do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so.

LAWRENCE: It will take a lawsuit. Unlike this photo in a wig and makeup, army officials say Manning will serve his time at the all- male Fort Leavenworth wearing the standard prison uniform and he'll not receive hormones to help him become a woman.

NEAL MINAHAN, PRO-LGBT ATTORNEY: He would have a better shot theoretically in a federal prison or even in a state prison.

LAWRENCE: Attorney Neal Minahan fought for the right for one of his clients to get hormones in prison. Civilian prisons do not have a blanket ban on hormone therapy like the military and taxpayers have been paying for prisoners' therapy for years.

COOMBS: She never really wanted this to be public to begin with.

LAWRENCE: But in court the Attorney David Coombs used Manning's desire to become a woman as an argument for leniency on his sentence. He introduced the photo of Manning in a wig and makeup and had several doctors testify to his gender identity disorder. So, could this very public announcement help Manning's case when he comes up for parole?

MINAHAN: In this context I don't see why it would.

LAWRENCE: Minahan said a parole board will examine Manning's crimes and how he behaves at Leavenworth in deciding whether to cut short his sentence.

MINAHAN: I don't think they probably should even look at the fact that he, she now is transgender in making that determination.


BURNETT: Now, you know, Chris, Manning's attorney says that he's going to ask President Obama for a presidential pardon next week. They've been trying to use this whole gender identification issue as something that might help them in that regard. How likely is it the president will consider it?

LAWRENCE: Not likely at all. You know, a presidential pardon is the highest form of clemency and it really signifies a forgiveness of the crime. The Obama administration has gone after whistle-blowers vigorously. The military prosecutors wanted to put Manning away for 60 years, try to convict him on aiding the enemy and to grant a pardon at this point would simply really be wasting the millions of dollars that it cost to put on this trial.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Chris Lawrence.

And news now on a major terror trial that we've been following the fate of Nadal Hasan, the army psychiatrist accused of murdering 13 people in a shooting rampage nearly three years ago is tonight formally and finally at long last in the hands of the military jury. Hasan represented himself in the case, although, you wouldn't know it. You know, we've been watching every day when he would cross-examine a witness, when he would actually perhaps give his closing statement.

Today he declined to give a closing statement. He never called a single witness to the stand. Hasan has indicated he would welcome the death penalty. According to a mental health evaluation leaked by Hasan he told a military panel, quote, "if I die by lethal injection, I would still be a martyr."

And now our second story, OUTFRONT, forced out of office. The San Diego Mayor Bob Filner accused of sexual harassment by 18 women is finally set to step down. This is part of a proposed settlement with the city council in San Diego according to an official close to the negotiations. Now, Filner you may remember after all of this spent two weeks in behavioral therapy amid trying calls for his resignation.

Casey Wian is in San Diego covering the story tonight. Casey, this has been something the whole country has gotten involved in this, woman after woman and he'd taken on the case of women who were victims of rape and then he had allegedly assaulted those very women. This story gets very horrible, the allegations, but if he resigns this way, what does it mean?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, Erin, it's a little bit unclear what it all means. It looked as of last night like there was a settlement agreement in place. The mediated settlement discussions began on Monday. They included Gloria Allred, the attorney for the first woman to come out and publicly accuse Mayor Filner of inappropriate sexual behavior. That was his former press secretary.

Gloria Allred left those negotiations after Monday and did not participate in them Tuesday and Wednesday, at least not in person. Last night a settlement was announced by the city attorney, two city councilmen and attorneys for Bob Filner, but just this afternoon, Gloria Allred called a news conference saying her client hasn't agreed to anything, and furthermore, she said her client doesn't want any city money helping to pay Bob Filner's claims and that's presumably what a lot of people were speculating this deal to get him to resign might entail.

This will all be sorted out hopefully at a closed session of the San Diego City Council tomorrow, 1:00 local time, in the afternoon. After that closed session we'll get some public comment on what the city council decides. If, in fact, Filner does step down, then the president of the city council becomes the interim mayor and they will convene a special election, but a lot of things up in the air right now.

BURNETT: Pretty amazing you are saying part of the deal, if there's a deal, would entail city money being used, that's taxpayer money and you can see the huge uproar, 18 accusers. This is the big question. Any word on the legal action that could be taken against Filner, what might happen to him?

WIAN: Well, beyond this one lawsuit that has been filed, we're not aware of any other legal claims that have been filed against the mayor by any of these other women, that's not to say that they couldn't come forward. We do know that the sheriff's department has set up a special hotline to field these claims. That has been active. There are also other investigations in to Mayor Filner's finances, other unrelated matters, that are not, as far as we understand, part of these settlement negotiations, so even if he does step down, it appears this story is far from over -- Erin.

BURNETT: Casey Wian, thank you, reporting from San Diego tonight.

Still to come, Hannah Anderson speaks for the first time, you'll see her. And the latest installment in our series on spying, you know, a lot of people are outraged, you think the U.S. government knows way too much about you. Wait until you see what other governments know about you and are spying on you right now.

And then an American-held hostage for seven months by al Qaeda speaks exclusively to OUTFRONT.

And another sinkhole, 25 acres in Louisiana gone in the blink of an eye.


BURNETT: Our third story, OUTFRONT, Hannah Anderson speaks out for the first time. The 16-year-old said she texted with the man who abducted her 13 times on the day she was taken, but she says there wasn't anything improper in those texts and she spoke about her relationship with Joe DiMaggio in an interview on NBC's "Today" show.


HANNAH ANDERSON, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: The letters were from, like, a year ago when me and my mom weren't getting along very well, me and him would talk about how to deal with it, and I would tell him how I felt about it, and he'd help me through it. They weren't anything bad. They were just to help me through tough times.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, clinical psychologist, Dr. Jeff Gardere, Jeff, what do you think about what she just said, you know, that she was going through a tough time and that, you know, this man was a friend of the family, she reached out to him?

JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, yes. Well, maybe her father was not in the picture. This was a person who was not a blood relative, of course, it's something that can be a little bit unsettling, but it seems this man DiMaggio really worked his way into this family and in many ways putting himself out there and becoming the confidante. I would say, it is not appropriate what he did, he should not have become the confidante to this girl against her mother.

BURNETT: Now, there was a moment during the interview, she was very poised and self-possessed but where she did break up. She did choke up. When she talked about her mother and her brother both of whom were horrifically murdered by DiMaggio, let's listen.


ANDERSON: He had a really big heart and -- she was strong hearted and very tough. She knew how to handle things.


BURNETT: Now, of course, you know, she wants to talk and she feels that people don't understand her side of the story. GARDERE: Yes.

BURNETT: But do you think she's fully wrapped her head around what's happened here? It's got to be impossible for anyone.

GARDERE: I think what happened she came out of the gate a little bit too soon. I'm not criticizing her in any way by going on to the social networking and putting her --

BURNETT: Right, where she answered questions from random people.

GARDERE: Putting that information out there. She wasn't ready for it and I think in some ways it may have retarded, if you will, some of that grieving that she should have had in her own personal time. And so now we see the grieving process happening right now. And there is that survivor's guilt that I think she still has not processed as yet and that is inevitably a part of anyone going through something so horrific.

BURNETT: Do you think we'll ever know the full story of what happened?

GARDERE: I think eventually we will as she gets older, more mature, she feels more comfortable in saying what it is that really happened, and there are a lot of things that happened that I would guess from a clinical standpoint that she just cannot -- either she's not talking about it privately, but certainly she's not ready to talk about it publicly.

BURNETT: And she didn't talk about it, in this interview, the events during the kidnapping that was off the table per se. I'm not holding it back from all of you, it's because she didn't talk about it.

GARDERE: I hope no one pushes her in that way. This is something that has to be done clinically and with the love and support of her family.

BURNETT: Dr. Gardere, always good to see you.

GARDERE: My pleasure.

BURNETT: And now our fourth story OUTFRONT, a sinkhole swallows part of Louisiana. The video on this is truly incredible, 25 acres, poof, gone. John Zarrella's OUTFRONT.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At first the trees are moving ever so slowly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are moving, John.

ZARRELLA (on camera): I got it. I got it.

(voice-over): Assumption Parish officials were checking the site of a 25-acre sinkhole south of Baton Rouge. Within seconds they noticed the cypress trees going down. Watch this, literally sucked under as the ground below them collapsed. The video shows the entire area suddenly swirling and the water churning as the trees are gobbled up. The sinkhole which first appeared last August sits over a salt dome cavern. It's believe the cavern collapsed causing the sinkhole.

Louisiana Environmental officials say the company mining the salt dome had abandoned and sealed the well in 2011, but tremors and bubbling began the next year. At this point the experts say it could still nearly double in size. Parish officials say there's no way to fill it and only Mother Nature can stabilize it. The mining company Texas Brine is working to mitigate the problem, which includes natural gas bubbling up. About 150 homes in the area have been evacuated. One resident told our Ed Lavandera, he thinks all the property around there will be worthless.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are you worried about what it means long term?

HENRY WELCH, BELLE ROSE, LA RESIDENT: Yes, yes. I'm retired, that's all I got coming in.

ZARRELLA: While Louisiana folks are dealing with a massive man- made sinkholes natural sinkholes continue opening up in Florida this time in Ocala, north of Orlando, people living around a five-acre lake say they watched it disappear in the matter of a few hours. While it seems there's been an increase in sinkholes lately in Florida, experts say there's no scientific evidence to prove it. For "OUTFRONT," John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


BURNETT: That video just absolutely incredible.

And now, "money and power" tonight, trading hall -- trading on the Nasdaq was halted for three hours this afternoon. It was a technical glitch that they blamed, but the Nasdaq is a big deal, Apple, Google, Microsoft all trade there. The problem is trading glitches are happening a lot. Earlier this week a programming error at Goldman Sachs led to massive erroneous trades.

Problems like these hurt confidence and make people wonder what's really going on, on Wall Street. But this won't be the last time something like this happens and apparently Mark Cuban agrees. He tweeted, quote, "I'm so shocked the Nasdaq is frozen, not. Pretty embarrassing for the United States."

And still to come, the latest installment of our series on spying. If you think the NSA and tech companies are doing it and it makes you angry, just wait until you see what foreign governments are doing to you.

Plus, a rapist impregnates his victim and then gets visitation rights. This is possible in more states in this country than you can imagine.

A bull takes on a car. We'll show you that video. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our fifth story, OUTFRONT, everyone is watching you. If you thought tech companies like Google and the NSA were the only threats to your privacy, you're wrong. Foreign governments are spying and big time. Tom Foreman has this OUTFRONT investigation.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Edward Snowden dropped his bombshell revelations about the U.S. government's surveillance program, his story took an ironic turn, he fled to China and Russia, nations long known for spying on foreign visitors and those countries are not alone especially when it comes to your computer, phones, and other devices, many countries, even allies consider them fair game.

MARK RASCH, RASCH TECHNOLOGY AND CYBERLAW: When you cross the border you are carrying a bag and in your bag you'll have your phone and your laptop computer. T he border patrol agents in any country around the world have the right to take all of the data off of that drive.

FOREMAN: Mark Rasch is a cybersecurity expert.

(on camera): Do people know that this is being done?

RASCH: Most business travelers do not know that countries have the right to copy everything that's on your drive and all of your passwords that access your mail, your e-mail, your files.

FOREMAN: So, this is routinely happening?

RASCH: It happens all the time.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Whether openly or in secret from border guards to customs agents to free wireless systems at a hotel, all represent ways in which information can be grabbed from your electronics, the White House has acknowledged the threat.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're going to have to work very hard to build a system of defenses and protections both in the private sector and in the public sector even as we negotiate with other countries.

FOREMAN: So, who and what are they after? Journalists and lawyers are targets for the contacts they have, college professors and students for their state of the art research, and business travelers because of internal memos, studies, and trade secrets that other countries and companies want.

RASCH: They have economic interests in wanting to learn trade secrets, business processes, new development, and new information technologies. If they can shave a year off of designing a new airplane engine, they can save billions of dollars for their economy. FOREMAN: Avoiding such spying is not easy. You can travel with cheap disposable phones, encrypt everything on your computer or better yet leave at home everything that you don't absolutely need.


FOREMAN: And it is worth noting that most of us in most of our travels will not be spied upon, but securities experts widely agree if you work in high-tech or military or other sensitive areas, the odds go up that when you go to look at the sites around the world, someone might also be looking at you -- Erin.

BURNETT: Really interesting point, Tom Foreman, thank you, and thanks for that series, all of which, all of Tom's pieces this week you can see on our blog OUTFRONT.

Still to come, shocking new details about the Oklahoma thrill killing, what may have led three teens to allegedly kill a man. We have an exclusive interview with one of the accused sister.

Plus an American held hostage by al Qaeda for seven months until he escaped. He talks exclusively to OUTFRONT.

And a list of America's most dangerous jobs, do you have one of them?

And the shout-out tonight, bull on the loose. Love this one. This video comes from Spain. A bull escaped from its pen during celebrations in Guadalajara. It ran into a busy road where it rammed cars. This car was tipped over. The shout-out goes to the bull for living up to the adage, don't mess with the bull, you'll get horns.


BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start with the second half of our show with reporting from the front lines and we begin with a new interview where CNN's Joe Johns asked the outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller whether 9/11 could have been prevented if the United States was collecting the kind of intelligence we now know the NSA is collecting.


ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: I think there's a good chance that we would have prevented at least a part of 9/11. In other words, there were four planes, almost 20, 19 persons involved. I think we would have a much better chance of identifying those individuals who were contemplating that attack.


BURNETT: Mueller said the patriot act has broken down the walls that prevented agencies like the FBI from sharing information about terrorists.

President Obama wants to create the first federal college rating system to help college students to figure out what school will give you the biggest bang for your buck. In a speech at university of buffalo today, rising tuition costs and student loan debt were top of the president's line.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: Our economy can't afford the trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt much of which may not get repaid because students don't have the capacity to pay it.


BURNETT: It's true, student loan debt is at levels never seen before. It's a crisis, but broken down it doesn't seem quite as scary. A federal reserve bank of New York study said 40 percent of borrowers have balances below $10,000.

And Casey Anthony's attorney is still trying to set the record straight more than two years after she was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter. In a new paperback version of "presumed guilty" Jose Baez writes a new conclusion which we've obtained. He writes there's one loose end in the case that really haunts hill, how Casey's daughter's body ended up in the woods. Casey told Baez her father was holding the child's lifeless body in his arms after she had fallen into the pool. Baez criticizes authorities for the lack of an investigation into Casey's father's role in the murder.

Well, the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome that has killed 48 people is now being linked to an Egyptian tomb. Yes, researchers led by Doctor Ian Lipkin of Columbia University say that only one bat has been found with MERS. Oh. Poor little guy.

It's a distant cousin to SARS. Lipkin actually told us back in March that the bat could be carrier of the virus because bats are reservoirs for carrying human disease. But now, another group of scientists tied camels to the outbreak just days ago, which was devastating. You can see our full report, by the way.

We took those claims on. They found the camels could have caught the MERS-like virus. Lipkin said, though, no, he found a genetic match in a bat. So we're hoping the camels will soon be cleared.

It has been 747 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, not good news for the biggest sector of the economy right now when you look at the markets at least for banks. Biggest banks could get another downgrade from Moody's which is considering doing Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo far from a favor because of concerns the government may be less likely to prop them up in a crisis. That, of course, increases (ph) the cost of borrowing and make it harder to get a loan.

Our sixth story OUTFRONT: Did boredom lead to murder?

There are new details tonight about what may have motivated three teens to allegedly shoot and kill 23-year-old Australian baseball player Christopher Lane. Three days before Lane was gunned down from behind while he was jogging 15-year-old murder suspect James Edwards Jr. tweeted with my "N's," the N-word, when it's time to start taking lives.

OUTFRONT tonight Rachel Padilla, she is James Edward' sister, and, Rachel, thank you for taking the time. I know this is really hard for you to talk about and we appreciate it. Let me just ask you -- you know, first of all, your reaction, your younger brother, now accused, charged with murder in a horrific crime.

What possibly could have gone through your head when you heard this?

RACHEL PADILLA, JAMES EDWARDS' SISTER: I just was in shock. It's hard to believe, and it's just really taken a toll on me.

BURNETT: I can only imagine. I can only imagine. But let me ask you, Rachel, your brother, that tweet with my "N's" when it's time to start taking lives, when you hear that, obviously it does raise serious questions about his role in that crime. When you hear that tweet, you knew him, what do you think?

PADILLA: I don't really know what to think, because I knew he had a Facebook page, but I never looked at it. And it's hard to believe that he will be -- that he would even put things on there like that.

BURNETT: I mean, Rachel, there was something else he did, and, you know, it's hard to ask you about this because I know you're in a terrible situation. But in April your brother tweeted, again, on the social media Web site, 90 percent of white people are nasty #hatethem.

Of course, Christopher Lane was white. Some people are saying race could have played a role in this killing. Does that make sense to you? Have you ever heard your brother say awful things about white people?

PADILLA: No, I haven't. I know that he has a lot of Caucasian friends with whom he hangs with, and the only way that I would feel that he would say anything racist about anybody is because we have felt racism from some of the people here in the community of Stevens County.

BURNETT: And so, you have. I mean, that is an experience that you and your brother had, of people being racist to you.

PADILLA: Yes, ma'am.

BURNETT: Let me ask you also, Rachel, you know, obviously, James and a 16-year-old have been charged with murder and they've been charged as adults. I mean, you know, that means the ultimate penalty, of course. I talked to the police chief in Duncan the other day, and he told me that they believe the 16-year-old pulled the trigger.

So, why do you think James was also charged with murder?

PADILLA: I don't really know, but I know that he's been in trouble with the law for fighting. But I don't quite understand why that he would be charged with first-degree murder when he wasn't the one that shot and killed the guy.

BURNETT: But as you said, he had been in trouble before with the law.

PADILLA: Yes, ma'am. For fighting and stuff like that, but he's never been a vicious person, and it's hard because that I know he's been in trouble for fights, but I don't really feel in my heart that he would go to such extents to take an innocent life.

BURNETT: And, Rachel, you know, one of the things that people have talked about, and no one can understand or comprehend the horror of what appears to have happened in Duncan, but maybe there was some sort of a group think, that there was a gang activity going on. There's photos and video of your brother on the Internet.

We have this photo of him, video, we played it last night, I'll show it again to our viewers, I don't know if you've seen it, Rachel. But it's him holding a gun, pointing at the camera sort of you know, celebrating and looking really happy there. You know, he's got a necklace on, sort of horsing around.

Are you aware of him being in any kind of a gang?

PADILLA: No, ma'am. The only knowing of it that I have is what people have been telling me. And I -- I don't really want to believe that he was in a gang. But I know that he hung around older people that were affiliated with gangs.

BURNETT: So, he did have friends there, but you're not sure if it went further than that.

PADILLA: No, ma'am, I'm not sure.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Rachel, thank you very much for taking the time. We appreciate it. I know it's not easy for you.

PADILLA: Thank you.

BURNETT: This whole country tries to find answers in that senseless and horrible killing in Oklahoma.

Our seventh story OUTFRONT: a rapist parental rights.

Imagine getting raped and giving birth and four years later going to court to stop the rapist from seeing your child. That is happening in Massachusetts tonight. Twenty-four-year-old Jamie Melendez was convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl in 2009. Now, he wants visitation rights.

Now, this is a topic we've covered on OUTFRONT, and as we reported, rapists are entitled to parental rights in 31 states across the United States of America. That may stun a lot of you and I think it bears repeating again and again.

I want to bring in our legal analyst Paul Callan.

Paul, it's a stunning statistic, let's talk about this case, this girl raped, the man was convicted of the rape. It isn't an alleged situation or any confusion, he was convicted of it. The judge sentenced him to provision and then said, eventually, you've got to pay child support $110 a week. And he said, well, you know what, if I have to pay child support, then I'm going to demand my parental rights.

This feels to many maybe like a second violation of this woman.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think you are absolutely right. It's a brutal psychological violation of the woman. Think about this, she's got to confront her rapist every time he comes to pick up the child on a visitation situation and it's worse than that, because family court judges don't like one parent bad-mouthing the other.

So, what is she supposed to do, say nice things about the rapist to her own child? It's absolutely absurd.

BURNETT: Who raped her when she was essentially a child, a 14- year-old girl.

CALLAN: That's right. Now, this was -- he was 20, she was 14 when this happened, so it was a statutory rape, but that age disparity is so great, that's a little girl. She couldn't have consented to that.

BURNETT: At that age that's an incredibly huge age gap.

You know, Ted Rowlands had first reported on the story for us, said there are 32,000 pregnancies in the United States from rape every year, another stunning statistic. Here's one woman who was dealing with this crisis that Ted reported on for this program, had to say about these laws.


SHAUNA PREWITT, RAPE VICTIM: We knew that this possibility loomed on the horizon that we could spend the rest of our lives tethered to our attackers because of our decision to have our children would we have made the same choice, and I think that's hard to answer.


BURNETT: Just a really powerful thing for her to say. Shouldn't rape victims be able to make their own choice in visitation, you know, when rape is proven, someone is convicted, you know this happened, legally should convicted rapists have the right to see their children conceived through rape?

CALLAN: No, they shouldn't. Except in one circumstance, and that is if the rape victim consents to it and sometimes you'll have a situation, let's say you have a state where the age of consent is 18 and maybe it's an 18 and a 17-year-old, they get married later on, maybe in that situation the victim --


CALLAN: -- wants the father to visit. But in most situations that's not present. So, I think you've got a structural law that says this is strictly to the rape victim. He's got to pay child support and he only gets visitation if she consents and I think all of the states have laws that should ensure that.

BURNETT: There's 31 of them need to change those laws.

CALLAN: Absolutely.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Paul Callan. The story we're going to continue following on this program.

But now, how dangerous is your job? The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, released its annual list of the most dangerous jobs in America and this year the top spot went to loggers. Loggers work with heavy loads on steep slopes often in horrible water. It's such a dangerous occupation that large branches stuck in trees are known as widow makers.

For every 100,000 workers, there were 127 deaths last year, which brings me to tonight's number: $32,870. Let's just pause for a second because that number you see on the screen is the average annual salary of an American logger. In fact, of the top five most dangerous jobs in America, only one, airline pilot, pays more than $50,000 a year.

All of these jobs are difficult, dangerous, stressful, and put other people's lives on the line, too. Television networks have built an entire industry around them profiting off of these people and yet the reward still doesn't reflect the risk which is why it might be time to re-evaluate what we pay people who perform these dangerous jobs even if it means paying for more for lumber at Home Depot or Lowe's or fish at the grocery store, because ultimately our price should match their cost.

Still to come an American held hostage by al Qaeda for seven months. Our exclusive conversation next.

And the Marissa Meyer debate continues to rage. All right, this is -- we're very excited about this one. Did the Yahoo CEO cross a line with his photo?


BURNETT: Tonight, President Obama's blurb, I'm sorry, red line, for Syria is again being put to the test. The president ordering American intelligence agencies to determine whether Bashar al-Assad's government used chemical weapons against civilians after the disturbing images appeared to show hundreds if not more than 1,000 bodies lined up near Damascus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPT. SPOKESWOMAN: Certainly, this would be an outrageous escalation of chemical weapons use if we are -- if the facts are found to be true and the president has a range of options to consider.


BURNETT: Those options, though, are still unclear. It's now been a full year since President Obama set his red line and we've now watched al Assad's regime cross it once possibly twice on the use of chemical weapons. But tonight, we are hearing for the first time from an American who was held hostage by al Qaeda in Syria and forced to leave another American behind during his daring escape to save his life.

Nick Paton Walsh is OUTFRONT with this exclusive.


MATTHEW SCHRIER, ESCAPED CAPTIVITY IN SYRIA: He took my hat and he pulled it over my face and put my head down between my legs and put the barrel of the gun to my temple.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is how 35-year-old photographer Matthew Schrier says al Qaeda first grabbed him in Syria. Kidnapped as he tried to travel home to Long Island, New York, a home he left to tell the story of Syrian rebels through pictures. He knew he wouldn't be freed after he was thrown into a dark concrete cell with another American who was covered in grime.

SCHRIER: As an American you guys can talk. And then I looked and I realized it wasn't American, that was -- that was when I realized they weren't letting me go, because this guy looked like he'd been there 100 years.

WALSH: Al Qaeda-linked militants in the northern city of Aleppo who have taken many Westerners and Arab hostage that's called Jabhat al-Nusra, and took Matt as he was leaving the Syrian rebels, he took this photos with.

SCHRIER: The only two things that scare me are time and the torture. I was just you get to the point where you are just, do you know what, just shoot me.

WALSH: His captors became brutal.

SCHRIER: They put a tie over your knees and put a stick through it so you can't bend your knees and they flip you over so your feet are in the air, and they take a cable it's like this thick, you know, about as thick as a nightstick, and they take turns whacking the bottom of your feet and they do it in reps like 15. And they got kids doing it that are like 12 or 14 years old, you know, priming the next generation. They have to carry you back to the cell.

WALSH: Tortured for his credit card and bank passwords, his captors using nearly all his money to buy iPads and sunglasses on eBay. They didn't want a ransom, just one confession.

SCHRIER: They kept like competing to break me, like, the low level guys, they all wanted to get me the one to say I was a CIA agent.

WALSH: Eventually, he broke.

SCHRIER: Say you are a CIA agent or I will hit you very hard. And then I sat there I was just, like, they're just going to torture me until I say it. You are being tortured by a maniac. You're going to say what they want you to say sooner or later. So, I just chose sooner rather than later because it was a lot less painful.

WALSH: Locked up together in six different prisons, Matt says he and the other American didn't get along but had to, to plan the escape. One cell had a window up high with a flimsy wire grill which they could fit through. But if caught they could be killed. Matt says the other American who we haven't been able to speak to was hard to convince.

SCHRIER: He's, like, you're endangering my life. I go, I'm trying to save your life.

WALSH: Eventually he was persuaded. They needed each other to push up to the window and squeeze through.

SCHRIER: Third day, we went. I took -- I took apart the screen. Pushed the sandbags aside and I got stuck around my waist so I had to reach in, I unbuckled my pants and as soon as I unbuckled my pants, I shot right out.

WALSH: But it wasn't as easy as the other American who we're not naming for his safety.

SCHRIER: He wasn't fitting and I said take off your shirt, get in there. Get in there I couldn't run away and leave him there. You know what I mean? We were both in there, in this together. We weren't making any headway and we're making too much noise and the windows were open and lights above me, and the sun was coming up.

WALSH (on camera): You must have known then you had to leave him?

SCHRIER: Yes, yes, it was one of the hardest things I had to do. I didn't just leave him. I was like you're not fitting.

WALSH: What did his face look like to you when you were talking?

SCHRIER: Scared. I was like I got to go.

He only said once, come back, I was like, I can't come back. I was like, I'll get help. I'll get help. He was just like -- he was like all right. Go.

WALSH: Is there a part of you which is worried about whether he might be alive now? SCHRIER: I think he's alive. I mean, of course, there is the possibility that he's not.

WALSH: What would you say to him?

SCHRIER: You know, I'm sorry that it worked out like this. You know, it's hard to move on because he's still there. You know, it hasn't ended yet 100 percent, and, you know, I'm not going to have closure until he's home.


BURNETT: You know, Nick, just amazing there that story and that reporting and, you know, meeting you and Matthew the other day, you know, he's so calm and I know he says he believes that other American is alive. He's clinging to that, but is he worried that the American that he left behind is being tortured for helping him escape?

WALSH: I think he's definitely worried about his safety. He believes the goal of the captors was not to kill them either them, otherwise they would have done it, when they are alive kind of position of prestige for militants in that particular area.

But there's one other chilling thing about Matthew's life now. He hasn't only have to deal simply with digesting the choice he had to make, he's also come to the U.S. to find that he was evicted he says from his apartment, had his possessions put in the car and his car was repossessed. He basically has nothing now at all, far from the shirt you saw on his back there, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Nick Paton Walsh. Incredible reporting and incredible story.

Well, every night, we take a look outside the day's top stories for something we call the OUTFRONT "Outtake". And tonight, the Marissa Mayer debate. You know, it's not just going away.

Was it appropriate or inappropriate? For days, people have debated if this crushed the Yahoo CEOs credibility. She does look hot.

What is it about this image that people find so controversial? And I try to figure out, then that's when I saw it, it must be because she's outdoors. I mean, come on. You know, she's the CEO of a company. You can't be seen outside on a patio soaking up the sun having a good time. She's to be in the office.

Yes, I guess that's not the problem. Maybe because it's because she's reclining in the photo. She's laying down. That's too sexual. Nobody wants a CEO that's laying down on the job.

Could you imagine if other CEOs were photographs looking comfortable and relaxed, you know, with their feet up, a drink in their hand? Their credibility would be shot. Oh, I guess that's not the problem. It must be then because she's a CEO of a tech company, she's a nerd and geek. She can't be chic. CEOs are happy to stay indoors alone, shying away from fashion, sports cars, and anything that could be considered remotely sexy. Remotely sexy. Yes, that was Bill Gates.

Yes, I guess that reason doesn't add up either. The truth is the only difference I could see between Marissa Mayer and other CEOs is that Marissa is in a dress and apparently, if you're the CEO of any company, that is offensive. It makes you look weak. It makes you look silly.

You can't expect to be taken seriously if you're wearing a dress, unless of course, you're a man.

Still to come, only 3 percent of all women in tech are African- American. But that could change because of one woman's idea.


BURNETT: Silicon Valley is a universal dominated by white men, but there is an idea to change that. Here is Dan Simon.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you guys are going to work together to read the instructions, build your app.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We're in the heart of Oakland, sheltered in a school in the same neighborhood where girls about the same age are preyed upon by pimps. Here, these African- American girls are learning to write computer codes.

KIMBERLY BRYANT, FOUNDER BLACK GIRLS CODE: I'm positive that one of the girls from our programs in the next 20 years is going to be one of the people we read about in the papers.

SIMON: Black Girls Code is the name of the nonprofit founded by Kimberly Bryant. Her goal: to supply Silicon Valley with a stream of new talent.

BRYANT: If there is going to be a pipeline, we're going to have to create it. We're only 3 percent of graduates in computer science.

SIMON: An engineer by trade and background in computer science, she organizes camps like this to encourage young African-American girls like Alexandra Suffold to think about a future in tech.

ALEXANDRA SUFFOLD, STUDENT: I think that if you get more black girls involved into technology, then we could, like, there would be more of us and we would feel more comfortable in the environment.

SIMON (on camera): From leaning how to build Web sites to mobile apps, the girls learn about all aspects of computer coding. When Bryant launched the organization two years ago, she didn't know what the response would be, but she says it's been overwhelming and as watched it grow quickly.

(voice-over): It's now in seven cities across the country, including New York, Atlanta and Chicago.

(on camera): How do you think being involved in this program might change your life?

AITA ZULU, STUDENT: Well, I never thought about being a computer scientist until Black Girls Code. And I think it just gives me an idea of what it all is and how I can help other people.

SIMON: The girl's cap their week-long coding this summer with a field trip to Facebook where they met chief operating officer Cheryl Sandburg.

BRYANT: This is all about creating opportunities for the girl that I was 20, 30, 40 years ago and making the future different.

SIMON: A future one woman is determined to make better.

For OUTFRONT, Dan Simon, CNN, Oakland, California.


BURNETT: "A.C. 360" starts now.